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Full text of "Navy & Marine Corps Medical News 00-34"

The United States Navy on the World Wide Web 
A service of the Navy Office of Information, Washington DC 
send feedback/questions to comments@chinfo.navy.mil 
The United States Navy web site is found on the Internet at 

http: //www . navy . mi 1 



Navy S Marine Corps Medical News 

MN-00-34 

August 25, 2000 

1. This message has been coordinated with the Commandant of the 
Marine Corps (CMC) . The Commandant has authorized transmission 
to Marine Corps activities. 

2. Navy and Marine Corps Medical News (MEDNEWS) is a weekly 
compendium of news and information contributed by commands 
throughout the Navy medical department . Information contained 
in MEDNEWS stories is not necessarily endorsed by Navy Bureau of 
Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) , nor should it be considered 
official Navy policy. 

3. BUMED distributes MEDNEWS to Sailors and Marines, their 
families, civilian employees and retired Navy and Marine Corps 
families. Further distribution is highly encouraged. 

4. Stories in MEDNEWS use these abbreviations after a Navy 
medical professional ' s name to show affiliation: MC - Medical 
Corps (physician) ; DC - Dental Corps; NC - Nurse Corps; MSC - 
Medical Service Corps (clinicians, researchers and 
administrative managers) . Hospital Corpsmen (HM) and Dental 
Technician (DT) designators are placed in front of their names. 

-USN- 

5. Contents for this week's MEDNEWS: 

- Services will collect baseline medical info on recruits 

- Educators, health care professionals meet in Tokyo 

- Hospital corpsmen support joint mission in Southeast Asia 

- Joint exercise sees eye care mission in Indonesia 

- Medical center captures Navy award 

- Anthrax question and answer 

- TRICARE question and answer 

- Healthwatch: Keep those diseases at bay with immunizations 

6. Stories: 

Headline: Services will collect baseline medical info on 
recruits 

By Army Staff Sgt . Kathleen T. Rhem, American Forces Press 
Service 

WASHINGTON - Defense medical officials are working on a 
plan to collect baseline health data from all recruits during 
their basic training . 

The Recruit Assessment Program would collect comprehensive, 
extensive medical history and health data and will compile the 
information into a computer database, said Capt. Kenneth C. 
Hyams, director of epidemiology at the Naval Medical Research 



Center in Silver Spring, Md. 

"The data will be accessible through a computer network and 
available to doctors when they are caring for their patients 
throughout the patients ' military career, " Hyams said. "It will 
also be available to Department of Veterans Affairs doctors when 
individuals leave military service and enter the VA system. " 

He said the services currently collect medical information 
from recruits, but the RAP questionnaire is more extensive and 
computerized . There are no current plans to pose the same 
questions to those already serving, he noted. 

"In the past, most of the information collected has been on 
paper copies. Often times those paper questionnaires get lost 
and aren't available to physicians when they are caring for 
patients later in their military career, " Hyams said. "It ' s very 
important that we have a life-long medical record that doctors 
can use to help in the care of patients, both while they're in 
the military and after they enter the VA system. " 

All the information wouldn't be important during a 
recruit ' s early years in service, but most certainly would be 
critical as individuals age. For instance, women with a family 
history of breast cancer could be targeted for earlier 
preventive screenings, he said. 

The initiative came in part from lessons learned after the 
Gulf War. It was nearly impossible to determine what ailments 
were service-related because no available database provide a 
clear picture of veterans ' health before their service in the 
Gulf. 

Once individuals are sent off to war or to a dangerous 
deployment such as Bosnia, it 's too late to collect the baseline 
data needed to really understand later health problems they may 
have after they return, Hyams explained. 

"One of the major problems in understanding the Gulf War 
Syndrome controversy has been the fact that we have not been 
able to evaluate the changes in military members ' health over 
time, " he said. 

Currently, a pilot Recruit Assessment Program is being 
tested at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, 111 . ; Lackland Air 
Force Base, Texas; and Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. 
Officials are working out some issues regarding questionnaire 
design and automation and aren't sure when the program would be 
implemented dod-wide. 

-USN- 

Headline: Educators, health care professionals meet in Tokyo 
From U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka Public Affairs Office 

YOKOSUKA, Japan - Health care professionals and educators in 
mainland Japan have come together as a team to help children with 
special developmental needs. 

Families with children who have special needs can now find 
comprehensive services at their hospital, clinics, and schools as 
part of an effort to help the Navy meet its mission. 

Recently, health care professionals and educators met for a 
Collaborative Conference, just weeks before the start of the 2000 
school season . 



Capt . Jack Smith, MC, commanding officer of U. S. Naval 
Hospital, Yokosuka, spoke to the group about their role in 
supporting the Navy's readiness mission and how caring for family 
members brings peace of mind to military service members. 

Cmdr. Robert Buckley, MC, developmental pediatrician and 
department head of EDIS Japan agreed. "Concern for families is 
important to the Fleet, " he said. 

"It's hard for them to be ready if they're out on a ship 
and worrying about their loved ones back home — what kind of 
hassles is the spouse going through trying to get the needs of 
their children met. Having these services here is great, " said 
Buckley. 

According to Lt . Eric Acoba, MC, Iwakuni's Physical 
Therapist and EDIS Specialty Coordinator, "Part of my job is not 
only dealing with the beneficiaries in terms of children, but I 
also work with the active duty Marines, as well. So I see the 
whole spectrum. " 

-USN- 

Headline: Local hospital corpsmen support joint mission in 
Southeast Asia 

By Judith Robertson, Naval Hospital Bremerton 

BREMERTON, Wa. - Digging dirt in 90 percent humidity for 
seven weeks is not the job of a hospital corpsman. Yet, 
independent duty corpsmen from Naval Hospital Bremerton have 
been lining up to volunteer for the job. 

"My mission was to provide primary and emergency medical 
care primarily to the team, then for Vietnamese workers, then to 
local villagers, " said HMCM Karl Matous, the most recent 
volunteer to tour with the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting Team 
and Central Identification Laboratory (CIL) , Hawaii. "But if you 
aren 't involved in your primary job, and I was fortunate there 
weren't a lot of medical problems, then you dig dirt, " Matous 
added. 

By volunteering as the medic, Matous spent seven weeks in a 
triple canopy jungle in Vietnam as part of a 12-member team 
designed to search, recover and identify remains of American 
personnel, unaccounted for from World War II, Korean War, 
Vietnam War and other conflicts and contingencies. 

"We were digging up and sifting through an area that had 
the potential to contain aircraft debris and possible human 
remains, " said Matous. "Anything we found was transported back 
to Hawaii where they have DNA capability and dental and medical 
records. " 

It could take as long as six to ten months before any type 
of identification is made, but according to statistics by the 
CIL there have been 12 WWII, 38 Vietnam War, four Korean War and 
two Cold War remains identified since January 2000. 

The field activities to Vietnam, Laos and other 
historically war-torn areas take place nearly six times a year 
with multiple teams being dispersed to different locations for 
30-days at a time. 

If there was any question in Matous ' mind about why he was 
spending a month of his life digging dirt in Vietnam, it all 



became perfectly clear. It was to give closure to families and 
friends of those who sacrificed their lives. This is the message 
that Matous gave to HMCS Malcolm Jacobs, the next in a long line 
of volunteers who will support the mission. 

"Not too many people in my generation have had the 
opportunity to go to Vietnam. We grew up seeing it on TV. This 
mission gives me the opportunity to do what I joined the Navy to 
do - go to another country, meet other people, and do a good 
deed, " said Jacobs. 

-USN- 

Headline: Joint exercise sees eye care mission in Indonesia 
By Bill Doughty, U. S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka 

YOKOSUKA, Japan - Optometrist Lt . Andrew Kim, MSC, traveled 
to Indonesia this summer as part of a medical team mission in 
support of "CARAT 2000. " 

He and a small team conducted eye evaluations and provided 
spectacle lenses to needy Indonesians in rural Asembagus, East 
Java. According to Kim, they provided 1,514 eye evaluations and 
made 1,293 eyeglasses on site. 

"By providing optical and surgical treatment to patients 
with reduced vision, the team had an exceptional improvement on 
quality of life for hundreds of people who would otherwise have 
had no treatment options, " said Kim. 

Glasses were made and distributed within 30 minutes of the 
patient ' s exam. 

Two corpsman worked solely in the lab to scope, block, cut, 
and assimilation the glasses. 

"Personally, this was an extraordinary experience for me. 
Although we might take reading glasses for granted, I saw tears 
coming down from the eyes of an elderly woman who, for the first 
time, had an experience of seeing clearly, " said Kim. "It was an 
amazing experience. It is truly about helping less fortunate 
people in the world. " 

-USN- 

Headline: Medical center captures Navy award 

From Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Public Affairs Office 

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, was 
selected for the Navy-wide Rear Admiral William Thompson Award 
for public affairs excellence in the Special Events, Observances 
and Special Publics category. 

The selection was based on media and internal and external 
public relations in promoting the opening of the Charette Health 
Care Center in April 1999. "The opening of the new Charette 
Health Care Center represents a superb quality of life 
enhancement for the military community of Hampton Roads, " said 
Rear Adm. Marion J. Balsam, Commander, NMC Portsmouth. 
"Promoting the hospital 's technological sophistication and 
patient amenities which are second to none was a high priority 
in prededication activities . " 

The award was given for unique activities aimed at 
directing the public's attention to the dedication of the $330 
million state-of-the-art facility and the impact it would have 



for the over 420, 000 Tidewater military beneficiary population 
including active duty, dependents and retired personnel. 

-USN- 

Headline: Anthrax question and answer 

Question: If you receive all the shots, are you 100 
percent protected? 

Answer: The antibodies that result from any vaccine can be 
overwhelmed if one is exposed to extremely large doses of any 
pathogen. Even if vaccinated, one may not be completely safe if 
one is close to the biological agent release point. Antibiotics 
for such people will offer additional protection . That ' s why 
vaccination is only one part of the force health protection 
efforts, which also includes protective gear and detection 
equipment. For continued protection, annual booster doses are 
required. 

-USN- 

Headline: TRICARE question and answer 

Question: Does the enrollment fee for TRICARE Prime have 
to be paid all at once, or can it be paid in installments? 

Answer: It is permissible to pay the Prime enrollment fee 
in quarterly installments . There is no additional administrative 
fee for quarterly payments . 

-USN- 

Headline: Healthwatch: Keep those diseases at bay with 
immunizations 

By It. Cmdr. Scott Clements, Naval Hospital Pensacola 

PENSACOLA, Fla. - Increasing concerns have been raised 
about the safety and need for vaccinations to control infectious 
diseases . 

Primarily, modern medicine relies on antibiotics and 
vaccines to combat infections from bacteria and viruses. 
Vaccines prime the immune system to respond quickly to invading 
bacteria or viruses. It ' s used to halt infection before symptoms 
occur. 

Antibiotics work by killing bacteria already infecting the 
body and causing symptoms. 

Antibiotics are not effective against viral diseases . A 
single antibiotic may work against many kinds of bacteria, while 
vaccines are designed against a specific disease. 

In America, many once- feared childhood diseases are 
becoming rare. Some have suggested that vaccination is no longer 
necessary. 

Despite the decrease in North America, vaccine preventable 
diseases such as measles, polio, and whooping cough continue to 
infect and kill children throughout the world. 

Only by continuing to actively immunize children will these 
scourges be kept at bay. Other parents worry when multiple 
vaccinations are given at one time, fearing an increased risk of 
severe reactions to the vaccines or that they may not be as 
effective when combined. 

Routine childhood vaccines are given according to a 



schedule. Sometimes the question arises about whether to given 
an immunization when the child is ill . The experts do not 
recommend delaying vaccinations due to mild illnesses such as 
colds, ear infections or mild diarrheal disease. 

Vaccinations should also proceed if the child has been 
exposed to an infection or is taking antibiotics for an illness. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics considers immunizations 
a priority in children's health and more information about 
specific vaccines is available at the web site (www.aap.org). 
For more information on pediatrics and immunizations go to the 
Naval Hospital website 

(psaweb . med . navy . mil/pted/pediatrics . htm) . 

-USN- 

Comments about and ideas for MEDNEWS are welcome. Story 
submissions are encouraged. Contact MEDNEWS editor, at email: 
mednews@us.med.navy.mil; telephone 202-762-3218, (DSN) 762, or 
fax 202-762-3224. 

-USN-